From Howat to Moline, they highlight the cuisine of the Breton Islands – Ouray

Where did the idea for the island cookbook come from?

Everything comes from a meeting with Lucien Gurung. In 2018, he called us to suggest that we prepare a book with him, about the culinary traditions of the Lorient country, since he was from the region. We started with “at the table”. Then there was Sweets from Brittany. Lucien was sullen. We soon realized there was something to be done about the island traditions and food in Brittany. We had begun to mature the project, but Lucien left us in January 2021. With the approval of his widow Charlotte, we continued designing the book with Jean Benoit Bevin. It was a form of honor.

How long did it take to complete it?

year. We traveled from island to island, met chefs, producers, cooks and housewives, who agreed to share traditional recipes with us. Prison periods allowed us to have cooks. Today, everything will take much longer.

Hoedic’s Candied Lime Tagine Recipe, by Samuel Kergal. (Xavier Dubois / The New Blue)

Why did you choose an island kitchen?

For two reasons: my colleague organizes the festival Les insulaires. It’s a scientist he knows very well. As for me, I worked for a long time at the Association des Iles du Ponant. I photographed the inhabitants of the island. So we have a lot in common with this island life. And then, we have to be clear: There has been a real editorial desert about it. We are the first to comprehensively appreciate the memory of these carrots, to know what has been eaten and what is still eaten.

In addition to recipes, you can also highlight chefs and operators through reports and portraits. How did you choose the formations?

The references we know on the site put us in touch with the right people. For chefs, we’ve identified one restaurateur per island. On some islands, we have sometimes supplemented with a well-known figure, who has a very specific recipe. This is the case in Ile de Batz, Brihat, Houat or Sainte-Ville.

Thumbs Up for Bill, by Christophe Didon.
Thumbs Up for Bill, by Christophe Didon. (Xavier Dubois / The New Blue)

Your favorite recipe?

Mutton navarin was very good. The eel tagine was also great, as was the sea bream tartare from Eel or Moines. It’s the family cooking, the local, that does its job. I tasted just about everything, but I limited the damage. In the candy book, I gained ten kilograms.

Which one would you recommend for a newbie in the kitchen?

For someone who doesn’t really know how to cook fish, there are two sister recipes on Houat and le de Sein. It is mule or old, cooked on potatoes in a saucepan. The peculiarity is that everything is cooked together, fish on potatoes. If you follow the recipe, it is simple. It is very good with vinaigrette.

Practice :

Recipes from the Breton Islands, versions of La Nouvelle Bleue, available in bookstores, €24.

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